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This article is about the Spanish term. For other uses see roto (disambiguation)

Roto or rota (literally "broken") is a Chilean term, considered derogatory, which refers to a person of poverty and vulgar habits of urban origin. It is also used contemptuously to refer to inhabitants of Chile, especially in Peru and Bolivia. In Chile from the start of the 20th century it was used with a negative classist connotation in reference to poor city-dwellers.

The historical origin of the use of the term could be, as much in Chile as in Peru and Bolivia, in the war fought by Chile against the Peru-Bolivian Confederation. Chilean troops defeated the confederation at the Battle of Yungay on 20 January 1839. As most of the victors (as recruits of the Chilean army) were poor, the defeated troops called the Chileans rotos. In Chile tributes were paid to the victors of Yungay and in a gesture of recognition, 20 January was instituted as the Dia del Roto Chileno (Day of the Chilean Roto). In addition, it is indirectly commemorated in the Hymn of Yungay, since in its era national identity was perceived as being consolidated.

The British equivalent is a yobbo.

Historical Usage

The term roto has been used in Peru since the times of the Spanish conquest, when Diego de Almagro's disappointed troops returned to Cuzco (after a failed gold-seeking expedition in Chile) with their torn clothes, due to the extensive and laborious passage on foot through the Atacama desert. This term became more used after the Chilean campaigns against the Peru-Bolivian Confederacy in 1839 and the War of the Pacific (1879-84) because it was the first time that large numbers of chileans entered peruvian territory.

The figure of the Chilean Roto is commemorated by very diverse organisations and actors such as the Chilean Army, ultra-nationalist activists, the Communist Party and local organisations of ordinary citizens. The Army has a particular appreciation to the figure which was regarded as the main hero a collective and anonymous hero- of some of the most crucial battles in the war against Peru and Bolivia.

In this context, the webpage of the Chilean Army states:

The patriotism, bravery and heroism was embodied in the Chilean roto, who represents the ordinary man that left all to fight for its "country". This was the one who fought in Yungay and characterise himself by his fierceness and determination.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Roto

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